31 December, 2016

2016 - Oh, what a year!

2016 turned out to be the most insane year. Here's a recap.
January 1 - we throw a New Year's Day party knowing it is the last party in our big house (the week before we decided to list the house and move closer to my parents). Only one of our guests suspects that this is really a "farewell house!" party.
January 5 - our Realtor Extraordinaire walks through the door and decrees that we have to be market-ready in three months.
January 10 - David Bowie dies.
I clean and pack non-stop for the next month. Nothing else matters. I figure that I'll relax once the house is listed and sits on the market. Yeah, right.
February 10 - we list ahead of schedule. My sister-in-law says we'll be sold in a month. My friend (the one that recommended our Realtor in the first place) gives us 5 days. It takes 28 hours.
February 14 - we go house hunting on the North Shore with our Realtor Extraordinaire II (yes, we needed two realtors) and walk through Nine Levels of Hell.
We spend the next month in Real Estate Hell as the clock is ticking on our move but we can't find a place to move into. Words "rent" and "temporary housing" start creeping into the conversations. I am too tired and too stressed to filter my words and my son learns a whole new vocabulary in multiple languages along with gaining a deep understanding of concepts like offers, contracts, and bidding wars.
We bid on Pottery Barn Special in the location we want and lose to an all cash offer. We then bid on a place two doors down (Home Depot Special) and are forced to drop the process because the seller is a complete a**hole. We see another place in a location we're Ok with and bid out of desperation. Our Agent somehow makes it work. And then we see it in broad daylight during the inspection and I have a panic attack in the driveway. Never, never, house hunt in the evening in the middle of winter! Ever! Suddenly, the a**hole's agent calls and we're back to bidding on Home Depot Special. I instruct our Agent to do what ever it takes and collapse into bed. It was past 1 am when my husband heard that we got it, he wakes me up to tell me. I am so exhausted from the whole process that I don't even care how much we paid.
March - one afternoon, after yet another tense real estate call, I stand in my sold kitchen, look out on a miserable cold and wet day outside and say: This is Hell, and the Cubs will win the World Series.
April - the nightmare continues. The seller and his agent go out of their way to be the biggest a**holes in history. Just as we think we're in the clear, our lender drops the ball. The word deadline is apparently not part of their vocabulary.
End of April - I have to find new movers a week before the move. The principal of Danny's new school calls to personally welcome us into the community - highlight of my year so far.
April 21 - Prince dies. Everyone's suddenly into purple.
April 27 - The movers arrive with two trucks. For the first time in four months I have nothing to do, so I watch Furious 7 on my iPad until I'm kicked off the couch by a large guy the size of a fridge.
When the couch is lifted we discover a mystery stain. To this day we have no idea what it was or how it got there. I have to call for emergency carpet cleaning. The trucks leave. We attempt to load our car with what we think is just a couple of leftover items. I end up sitting with a huge flower pot in my lap and prickly cacti between my feet. The pile of garbage we leave behind is almost as tall as the house. (Don't worry, it got all picked up the next day, my neighbor made sure).
Closing day - as we pull into our new driveway, clutching rusted keys to our new North Shore place, a long line of white contractor vans is lined up along the side. I wave to my mom and she signals a 'go!' to the vans. For the 48 hours our Eastern European crews replace everything. And then the movers arrive. We don't exactly fit, because we downsized. I have 20 boxes labeled "dishes," yet I can't find a spoon. For the first time in our marriage we share a closet.
May - Danny instantly gains new best friends in his new school. I learn how to operate my car horn, a new skill, while driving on the North Shore.
Summer - we collapse on the beach and not move. We think we're in the clear. Since I don't watch sports, I have no idea that the Cubs keep winning.
August - Rio Olympics. We cheer, we cry, we watch Michael Phelps become the most decorated athlete of all time. 
September - I finally deal with the last moving box. The Cubs keep winning. Danny quietly starts paying attention to the team, we let him.
November 3 - We watch the Cubs win the World Series.
November 7 - Leonard Cohen dies. Everyone suddenly discovers Hallelujah.
November 8 - Election Day.
The day before Thanksgiving - since we live close to a fire station, the trucks go by our windows when they get a call. We count 15 calls go by (sirens and all) that day. I start wondering exactly what people are cooking around here.
End of November - we get out our prelit Christmas tree and discover that it did not survive the move. We decide to buy a live tree for the first time ever. It likes Sprite.
December 8 - I finally manage to release my second novel, A Shot From Afar. It's late by only six months!
Christmas season - our master closet collapses on itself. Not only do I have to dig out our clothes, but Danny's Christmas presents. He's so curious why I keep kicking him out of the room as I look for some mysterious items I don't want to explain, I end up telling him it's human brains in a jar.
Terry and I go see Rogue One and find out as the movie about to start that Carrie Fisher had a heart attack.
I spend Christmas suffering from a cold.
December 25 - George Michael dies.
December 27 - Carrie Fisher dies.
December 28 - Debbie Reynolds dies.
December 31 - We eat a 12 course meal and anxiously await the New Year. 2017, please be boring!



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